CAB News 15 March 2019

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CAB News 15 March 2019

Friday 15 March 2019

Today we have published our energy star rating. It has appeared in a number of outlets.


More small and newer energy suppliers delivering poor customer service – charity, 15/03/2019

Citizens Advice has called for tighter licensing rules for new energy companies after finding an increasing number are delivering poor customer service.

The charity’s latest energy league table shows five new or smaller energy suppliers – Outfox The Market, Eversmart Energy, PFP Energy, Pure Planet and iSupply – all achieved an overall score of less than two out of five.

Citizens Advice said the ranking, which covers 99% of the market and assesses data from 35 firms, combined with recent supplier failures highlighted the need for Ofgem to tighten the rules on who can get a licence to supply energy. It is also calling on the regulator to crack down on poorly performing firms already in the market.

The star rating was also mentioned on BBC Breakfast, followed by an interview with Ofgem.

Energy bills: ”I don’t know who to trust”

BBC, 15/03/2019

BBC spoke to Citizens Advice case study Paul Bailey who has switched energy supplier twice at his new home, and twice he has had trouble with his bills.

Having moved to a new supplier – Outfox the Market – he was left confused by a string of price changes. “Their customer service was all over the place,” said the 50-year-old, from East Sussex. “I don’t know who to trust with it all now.”

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “We have seen too many companies who were completely unprepared to offer acceptable levels of service. A number of these have gone out of business in recent months, leaving customers worried, anxious and in some cases temporarily out of pocket.”

Profiling the 11 UK energy companies that ceased trading in the past 12 months

Compelo, 12/03/2019

In the wake of Brilliant Energy announcing it has ceased to trade, Compelo has profiled energy suppliers that have also recently gone under. The article mentions Citizens Advice star rating.

Brilliant Energy joins list of failed UK power and gas utilities (subscription required), 11/03/2019

Brilliant Energy has become the latest UK energy supplier to fold in a further sign that many smaller providers are not equipped to cope with market volatility.

Brilliant, which supplied around 17,000 customers, ceased trading on Monday, becoming the third to do so this year and the 11th since January 2018 — not including a further four that quit the market last year through corporate transactions.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said: “The failure of another supplier is a clear sign Ofgem needs to urgently move forward with its reforms to better monitor existing companies and take action earlier when problems arise.”

This story was also in the Mail Online.

We need urgent law reform to protect customers, says Citizen Advice boss

Mail Online UK, 09/03/2019

Gillian Guy provided comment for the Mail on Sunday explaining that Citizens Advice sees “hundreds of people every year who have lost money from being trapped in subscriptions they don’t want and find difficult to cancel.”

She continues that: “Laws surrounding subscriptions need to be reformed urgently to stop firms being able to take advantage of their customers.” and that the government needs to act urgently and companies responsibly.

She states that continuous payment authorities are a huge issue and the laws around these need to be tightened. Companies that offer free trials should also have to seek your permission before that trial ends and they begin charging you.

JEFF PRESTRIDGE: We’ll NEVER stop fighting on your behalf

Mail Online UK, 09/03/2019

Personal Finance Editor, Jeff Prestridge thanks readers for getting in contact regarding continuous payment authorities. The Mail on Sunday makes demands for reforms and feels that they “would not be difficult to introduce,” continuing that “the only obstacle is one of intransigence on behalf of regulators, companies and banks.”

Citizens Advice, alongside other “consumer champions,” supports these demands. The article provides advice for consumers as well as a template letter they can use to send to companies using these practices.


CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU COLUMN: Can I be dismissed for being pregnant?

Westmorland Gazette, 14/03/2019

The article provides advice for a pregnant woman who has recently been laid off. She suspects that she was fired due to being pregnant.

The column advises: “However long you’ve been employed, being fired because of pregnancy is automatically classed as unfair dismissal. Although your employer said you were being sacked for poor performance, you’re right to be suspicious. Ask for written reasons.”

You can find March’s template advice column on CAB Link.

In other news

Schools have become “an unofficial fourth emergency service” for vulnerable families across England and Wales.

More than 100 care home operators collapsed in 2018, taking the total over five years to more than 400.

Universal credit claimants should be compensated if their benefits are paid late or promised training and skills courses are not delivered, conservative thinktank Bright Blue has recommended.

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Brilliant Energy customers’ supply to continue as normal, but Ofgem must “urgently move forward” with supplier reforms, says Citizens Advice

Friday 15 March 2019

Citizens Advice, in its role as the official consumer champion for energy, has responded to news that Brilliant Energy Supply Limited has ceased trading. Brilliant Energy also supplied customers of Northumbria Energy under a ‘white label’ arrangement.

Gillian Guy, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:

“Brilliant Energy and Northumbria Energy customers’ gas and electricity will continue as normal and Ofgem will appoint a new supplier soon. Customers should take a meter reading and wait until a new supplier is appointed before switching, otherwise they risk losing any potential refunds.

“The failure of another supplier is a clear sign Ofgem needs to urgently move forward with its reforms to better monitor existing companies and take action earlier when problems arise.

Consumer advice contact

Customers can find more information on the Ofgem or Citizens Advice websites. Customers unsure of their next steps can contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06. Please note, this service operates Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.

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